The capital of British Columbia, Victoria was one of the first European settlements to be established in the province, and today has preserved much of its Victorian architecture in its downtown core.
We'd like to thank the Victoria Archives for generous use of their historic photo collection.
We respectfully acknowledge and respect the Lekwungen-speaking Peoples on whose traditional territories Victoria stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSANEC peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.
Then and Now Photos
View Across the Harbour
Victoria Archives AC1-M06964
This photo was taken from the Songhees, or Lekwungen, Reserve in Esquimalt, looking back towards downtown. At the far right in place of the Empress Hotel you'll see a bridge. That was once an area of mud flats that would not be filled in until the beginning of the 20th Century.
E.C. Kellogg, Druggist
Victoria Archives PR-0252-M05374
This interesting building on the corner of Douglas and Yates was once home to a drug store, occupying an important commercial spot in downtown Victoria. It's impressive that the building has survived, housing a Mac's today, though many of the original Victorian-era exterior stylings have been removed.
Yates and Douglas
Victoria Archives PR-0252-M05809
A streetcar trundles down Douglas Street. City Hall can be seen in the distance.
Posing at Parliament
Vancouver Archives AM54-S4-: LP 264
A group of men and boys pose on the steps of the newly opened Parliament building in 1898.
Victoria Archives PR-0252-M08360
This photo shows the tugboat the S. S. "Point Ellice," digging in the harbour to deepen it for more extensive use in 1914.
The Anti-German Riot
Victoria Archives AC1-M06744
In 1915 the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-Boat, killing hundreds of Canadians, including some from Victoria. New recruits training at Willows Park in Oak Bay came into Victoria and began smashing the windows of German businesses, including the hotel seen here, which had been known as the Kaiserhof. A mob quickly formed and smashed the windows at several other businesses known to be owned by Germans, or with German sounding names. Eventually the police were able to get the situation under control, and nobody was injured in the riot.
Departure of the 48th Battalion
Victoria Archives PR-0159-M09770
The 48th Battalion departs for Britian to join the war effort on July 1, 1915.
Soldiers in the Snow
Vancouver Archives AM303-S2-: CVA 294-069
A group of men from the 103rd Battalion trudge through the snow past City Hall during the so-called Great Snow of 1916. They are carrying supplies with them on sledges. The men would have been training in Victoria before being sent to fight in France.
The Big Snow
Vancouver Archives AM303-S2-: CVA 294-074
In February 1916 Victoria was hit by a total of 46.2 inches of snow, throwing the normally mild city into chaos. This snowfall held the record until Victoria's blizzard of 1996.
The Oriental Hotel
Victoria Archives PR-0252-M06982
Built in the 1880s, this historic hotel is a fine example of the Victorian Era Italianate style. It was one of the first hotels in this part of Victoria, and remained one of the most prominent throughout the decades of economic expansion that would come to an end in the early 1910s.
Victoria Archives AC1-M09738
A Float plane docks at the Victoria Harbour in 1931. During this period only seaplanes could land in Victoria as the first airstrip would not open until 1939.
Artillery on Parade
Victoria Archives PR-0264-M08679
A light field gun mounted on a truck parades up Government Street as curious onlookers watch from the sidewalks.
Victoria Girls Drill Team
Victoria Archives PR-0100-M08791
This wartime photo shows the Victoria Girls Drill Team posing for a photo on the steps of the Legislature.